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NMB bosses ready to sing

Staff Writer

NMB Bank directors wanted by police on charges of externalising foreign currency have threatened to reveal the foreign currency deals they and other banks conducted with government departments a

nd the central bank on the black market.

At the height of forex shortages government and parastatals sourced foreign currency on the illegal parallel market to purchase grain and fuel. Foreign currency was also bought at the parallel rate to pay for electricity imports.

The four directors – Julius Makoni, James Mushore, Otto Chekeche and Francis Zimuto – have said they will not return to Zimbabwe to be subjected to the current legal regime where they can be detained for long periods without trial. The four left the country a fortnight ago.

In an interview this week Makoni, who was managing director of the bank, said they were prepared to sing if their “persecution” continued.

“For professional reasons we would not like to give details of the transactions that took place,” said Makoni. “But if we are persecuted the way we are being treated now, we are prepared to reveal the details,” said Makoni.

This comes amid revelations that the Zimbabwe government has not started extradition proceedings to bring back from Britain the four directors to face trial.

In written responses to the Zimbabwe Independent this week, the British embassy said it had not been contacted about the extradition of the four men.

“We have not been contacted by the government of Zimbabwe or Interpol about this case,” said British embassy spokesperson Sophie Honey.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday said extradition proceedings would only start after police had ascertained the exact location of the suspects.

“We cannot start the extradition process until we know the exact location of the suspects. We are still trying to find out exactly where they are,” he said.

The Independent this week also heard that government would formally complain against the British government for allegedly facilitating the escape of the directors by providing them with fast-track visas.

The embassy could not provide details on whether or not the four directors got express visas.

“All visa applications are con-sidered in accordance with UK immigration rules. We do not comment on individual applica-tions,” said Honey.

Diplomatic sources this week said the British government would not extradite the directors who would likely be treated as asylum seekers.

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